Aug. 23rd, 2013

usernamenumber: (devi)
(if this reads like a rant, it's not my intention, more just an observation with a question at the end... ok, and a bit of a rant in the middle)

A while back, a friend commented on the "dad-ification" of video games; the phenomenon where as game developers get older, male game protagonists go from being motivated by protecting/rescuing their female love interest to protecting/rescuing their female child or ward.

I thought, "huh", noting that while I hadn't played Bioshock Infinite, it seemed to fit the mold from what I'd heard, but I couldn't say I was personally familiar with the phenomenon.

Then I played Dishonored. And then I started Dead Rising 2. And then... you get the idea.

Not that I doubted it, but it's funny how as soon as the trend was pointed out, the next couple of games I played illustrated it perfectly.

I wonder how people would have reacted if in Dead Rising 2 you were looking for medicine for your helpless young son; not that I object to the helplessness in its self-- it's appropriate for a kid that age in the middle of a zombocalypse, but I have to wonder whether the game would be more likely to find an excuse for the kid to pick up a baseball bat and defend himself during a cutscene or something, lest his agency and masculinity be impugned (to be fair, maybe they do that later on with the daughter, but I kinda doubt it).

Or what if Corvo in dishonored was protecting a prince? With the same dialogue, would there be more complaints about the prince being "whiny" and "annoying"? Would the affection between Corvo and the prince prompt a bunch of pedo jokes? (because non-violent emotions between males are scaaary, and all male affection is probably sexual on some level anyway, right?... not that I'm bitter or anything)

Anyway.

I hope I don't sound like I'm on too much of a high horse here, I'm sure most of the motivations behind these design choices are quite innocent, but when something becomes a trend, or, dare I say, a trope, it denotes a certain lack of originality when it continues to be used over and over again, and it seems to me that the "hero is motivated by rescuing/protecting the (literal) girl" thing is becoming as much of a trope as the "hero is motivated by rescuing/protecting the girl(friend)" thing was before it.

Question: do any examples of games that subvert this (male protecting a boy, or woman in the hero protector role) come to mind?

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